Sunday night's El Clasico promised to be every thing a football fan dreams of, and delivered on its promise.
The Messi vs Ronaldo rivalry was hotting up as the latter had finally managed to regain the Ballon d'Or from his Argentine counterpart. The now worlds most expensive player Gareth Bale would get his first taste of El Clasico in front of his home crowd while Barcelona's own costly summer acquisition Neymar was making his away debut in La Liga's most legendary Fixture.
Not only was it a match where the players would take Center stage but also for the managers. Carlo Ancelotti could stamp a huge mark on his career with a first win over his sides bitter rivals. Barca coach Gerardo Martino would be looking to claim a historic double over the Galacticos in his debut season in charge and push his team on for a fierce title challenge against both Madrid sides.
What ensued was perhaps everything that was expected but with just a few more cherries on top. A red card, a fight, controversial decisions, more penalties than ever and perhaps a slight reality check.
Messi is no stranger to breaking records and this night was no different. The speedy forward was at hand for all four of his teams goals which included the assist for Iniesta's opener followed by a hat-trick (which just happened to be the first time any player wearing Catalans colours had scored three at the Bernabeu!). This put Ronaldo's night into perspective. A game in which he put away a desputed penalty was perhaps his only highlight after his red card and numerous missed chances.
Neither Bale or Neymar caused any prolonged problems for their opposition. Apart from a the odd dazzling run they both spent quite a lot of time on the floor asking the referee for a free-kick or penalty. However of the two the young Brazilian was successful in one of his attempts of inticing a foul in the box, concluding in Messi's first penalty goal of the night.
Sergio Ramo's red card seemed to be the catalyst for Barcelona to finally get the victory over Real after first leading then twice having to claw their way back into the game. But should the Spaniard's dismissal really be the only punishment from the game? Known for his exaggeration and feigning of injuries Sergio Busquets can be seen showing his meaner side with a stamp on Madrid's Pepe head (karma, for the Portuguese? You decide.), you then have Cesc Fabregas's blatant barge into the aforementioned Pepe which sparked the second half brawl.
But there is a big question that has formed here. With Messi's record breaking hat-trick in Ronaldo's back yard, does this put the no.10 back on the world's pedestal in footballs eyes? What this result does produce however is a cracking league title finale the likes of which haven't been seen for a long while.